Our last Two-show day. My knee went out during the Letterman Show. See, I was supposed to have knee replacement in January but when I accepted to do the play I postponed the surgery and got cortisone shots. You are allowed one shot every three months. The last one was only effective 6 weeks but the doctor said I could get another one to tide me over till the surgery (which has been rescheduled for mid June). Well, it isn’t working anymore and so yesterday I did both shows using a cane the whole time. I managed it well enough so that people who hadn’t seen the show before thought it was part of my character. No one even seemed to wonder why I had a cane for the curtain call. I hate that tonight, our final show, I will be using a cane but, hey, that’s life. And at least I’m playing a character who ends up in a wheel chair and then a gurney. As I have written in my yet-to-be-finished book on aging, when you get older there are aches and pains and you can let that define you or you can learn to live with it and get on with life. Guess which way I’ve chosen. But—the Galapagos will be interesting on a cane. I don’t know exactly how much walking there will be. Some, I know, and on volcanic islands which are tough to walk on. But the swimming and boat parts should be fine. And in the airports, my grandchildren can ride on my lap in the wheelchair.

Okay, so back to yesterday. Some really interesting people came backstage afterwards. Estelle Parsons, for one. Now there’s a powerful lady!! She’s in her eighties and goes up and down a humongous flight of stairs all throughout her play, “August: Osage County.” I haven’t seen her in it but have heard she is amazing. She has gone on the road with it—for 40 weeks!!! I will interview her for my book. I want to know how she stays physically strong (her husband is about 25 years younger than her and says he can’t keep up with her.)

backstage52009-estelleparsonsEstelle Parsons (photo: Michael Rudd)

Then, James Andrews came back. He’s the man who persuaded me to start blogging and helped me set it all up and introduced me (by phone) to the mysterious J.J. in Detroit who makes it all happen technically. James came with Pankaj Shah, the man who launched the website TONIC, which sells merchandise to benefit non-profit organizations, Donna Karen turned me onto him. She is on his board. Pankaj and James are discussing how TONIC can help me sell my mug shot totes, clutches and T-shirts for the benefit of G-CAPP.

backstage52009-jamesandrewsandpankajshahoftoniccomJames Andrews, Me and Pankaj Shah of

Speaking of Georgia, State Senator Nan Orrock came to the show with State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver. I’ve known and worked with them both ever since I arrived in Georgia 18 years ago. They were also with Mary Frances Williams, a progressive lobbyist for women and children who has help G-CAPP over the years and Nancy Hall, retired director of Georgia Public Broadcasting.

backstage52009-senatornanorrockandrepresentativemarymargaretoliverSenator Nan Orrock and Representative Mary Margaret Oliver
backstage52009-nancyghallandmaryfranceswilliamsNancy G. Hall and Mary Frances Williams

Last night, Eve Ensler and Pat Mitchell came again-for the umpteenth time and we all went to dinner where Moises joined us. It was so much fun I stayed longer than I intended. I feel so blessed to have fierce, precious friends like Eve and Pat.

backstage52009-patmitchellandeveenslerPat Mitchell, Me, and Eve Ensler (photo: Michael Rudd)
backstage52009-dickcavettDick Cavett (photo: Michael Rudd)
backstage52009-janealexanderJane Alexander (photo: Michael Rudd)

See you next time

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  1. Estimated Jane:
    I neither speak nor write English and for it I use the Internet translators. I apologize for it. The surgery of knee is a necessary evil. The cortisone is not very advisable. The important thing is that it(he,she) could be in the scene(stage) last day for all the spectators who wanted to see her. He(she) will enjoy the trip to Tortoises, included cane! Good trip and I will wait for the images that it(he,she) promised. From Uruguay with love
    Estimada Jane:
    No hablo ni escribo inglés y por ello utilizo los traductores de internet. Me disculpo por ello. La cirugía de rodilla es un mal necesario. La cortisona no es muy aconsejable. Lo importante es que pudo estar en el escenario el último día para todos los espectadores que deseaban verla. Disfrutará el viaje a Galápagos, bastón incluido! Buen viaje y esperaré las imágenes que prometió. Desde Uruguay con afecto

  2. Parsons, Cavett, Alexander…and Fonda. Talk about some powerful vibes in that dressing room! Will miss these backstage photos, but I’m guessing you’ll still be posting some…just from a different sort of backstage. 😉

  3. Bon Voyage! Come back in Sept for The Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS Annual Flea Market. So much fun for a great cause and let’s face it, you’re this year’s Easter Bonnet Queen! Have a great trip.

  4. My parents were in the Galapagos Islands last Thanksgiving. They said there was lots of walking, and on uneven ground. But they went with a friend who uses a wheelchair sometimes and a cane sometimes and he had a swell time, too. I’m sure you’ll make it great!

  5. Well, all good things come to an end huh? Its been amazing. Really amazing. Although I didn’t get to see it, I felt like I was there. You really are one of a kind. It looks like you had a lot of fun. And, some amazing people have been backstage with you. Congratulations! Hope to see this show travel. Come visit me in Rhode Island! 🙂 Go rest that knee!

  6. I am glad to know that you will be selling the mug shot t-shirts! When I came to see your play, I looked everywhere in NY thinking I might find one. I love the shirt and can’t wait until they start selling. Let us know where we can find them. Please

  7. I feel so blessed that I ewas able to see your play in April.

    You will love Galapagos – using 2 walking sticks might even be better than a can……. some of the walking is easy (I am 65) and some was a challenge…. I often let my daughter’ shoulder be my balance and that helped a lot…and going slowly which allows you to take in the glorious beauty ……

    Be well and I look forward to the ongoing blog!

  8. Jane, I’m the guy Samantha brought backstage last week from “Coming Home” (was actually in the welcome home party scene w/ you at the Manhattan Beach house-the youngest Marine who passed out on the floor. We filmed more scenes which were cut.) Anyway, I am so proud of you. It was a truly inspiring performance. Wonderful ensemble. A great evening. Thank you and aloha from Hawaii! xo Ned

  9. Have a Great time on your trip. Love your blog and all the pictures.

  10. How is Estelle Parsons doing? Does she still do movies?

  11. Wow, my dream has come true! I may have a chance to purchase your mug shot on merchandise and have the proceeds go to your wonderful charity.

    I’m also excited about the possibility of your play going on the road in 2010! Please come to Baltimore, Jane!!!!

    Have a great vacation and best of luck to you with your knee surgery.


  12. Jane, you will learn to love using a cane! They are a real plus and I think I would use one even if I didn’t need to from time to time. It is great to know that you and I are growing old together in each other’s good karma/company. I think of this often as I read your blog — how blessed we are as we go through the ups and downs, highs and lows of the aging process. I am 63, and look who are my mentors, roll models and reflection? Barbra, Estell, Cher, Bob Dylan, Robert Redford, Mick, Goldie and everyone else that has walked this walk. Am I lucky, or what? Memoires of such a wonderful “family” following. I am no celebrity, just a civil servant, but I am a proud, card carrying member of perhaps the second generation that has walked the good life-long walk via the media — the first via blogs, twitter, etc. And perhaps the first media generation not afraid to talk about life’s natural processession.

    All of us need to write books as all of us have had such interesting lives! I would love to see a book on the 60’s generation not so much focusing on one age sector, as we covered a few decades, but on how we intertwined then and now in so many ways, how we changed, how we remained the same.

    Thanks for keeping the blog. I read it daily.

  13. Dear Ms. Fonda,
    I was at the table next to yours at Orso. before you arrived Moises was speaking to the table about how wonderful he thought you were and how in awe he is seeing you develop this character to the end. WOW!
    I have heard many actors, directors, writers say awful things about each other but never this kind of parise and respect. I have been lucky to have seen the show and you at Orso many times. You are the real deal! I hope you come back to the theater soon, and Orso.
    BTW. The cane is fine. I iwll so miss seeing you.

  14. Hi, Jane,
    Sorry to hear about your knee. Has you doctor considered you a good candidate for Synvisc? ( ) I just hate the idea of your having to contend with the knee replacement surgery if you can get relief from this instead. It’s made from the comb of a rooster and has been a godsend for me. Although the injection (I got the course of 3 injections) normally last six months, I’m still going strong after 2 1/2 years. (I must have had some marathon runner roosters in my mix of injections!)
    It just might be worth asking him about it. All the best to you and Tulea! Bright blessiongs–Susan

  15. Could you talk Eve Ensler into blogging and twittering? That would be awesome.

  16. Even if you had to use the cane at curtain call, I’m sure you looked quite gallant and in character. Because of a motorcycle accident I sometimes have to use a cane and have become quite fond of it. Recently I had to go to Queens alone at 2a.m. and felt totally invincible with cane in hand. Sometimes having an excellent prop is just the right touch. Just don’t resent the cane, enjoy it. It’s a red badge of courage.

  17. Jane, get that knee fixed! You’re gonna feel so much better once it stops hurting like hell.

    Praying for you.

  18. Hi Jane,
    Thanks for being so open about your knee problem and traveling with a cane. My mom, age 85 next month, is the most optimistic person I know and continues to travel even though she uses a wheelchair at the airport and a cane to get around. (Now I’ll be able to tell her she’s in good company!) I’m 54 and was recently diagnosed with glaucoma and it threw me for a loop because I’ve been healthy all my life. I’m going to stay positive. I’m really looking forward to your book on aging. Thanks for writing it.
    Have a great time in the Galapagos with your daughter and the rest of the group!
    P.S. Good luck at the Tonys to you and everyone from 33 Variations. I can’t wait to see your dress, too.

  19. How lucky you are to have had this opportunity to do this wonderful play that has provided you and so many others so much joy and insight.

    And how lucky I feel that I discovered this blog and that you have shared the experience with us so generously.

    Thank you.

  20. It was a pleasure meeting you backstage after Wednesday’s matinee. A wonderful performance by all. Thank you for an excellent portrayal of an ALS patient. As an “orphan” disease it doesnt always get the exposure and funding it needs to search for a cure. Just last week I participated in a research study funded by Columbia, Harvard and ProjectALS. Hopeful for promising results!
    Best wishes in your future adventures.

    • PS. I still plan to live forever … so far I am right on schedule!

  21. Have been thinking about you this week! I know it’s a difficult time for you! So sorry to hear about your knee! Life has a way of throwing unexpected things at us!! Then we have to pull ourselves up “off” the floor and go on with living! That’s the hard part sometimes! I wouldn’t worry about your cane! People will be just looking at YOU! Hope you have a WONDERFUL night!! You have some amazing friends and life experiences!! I know people must make over you all the time, but I think deep inside you there is a sensitive, REAL person who is not so impressed with all this. Thank you for all your hard work for various causes! Please don’t stop blogging! Have fun on your trip!

  22. You mention Estelle Parsons in this blog, and I must comment. She was absolutely AMAZING in August. I saw it last July, and I am so excited to see that she is touring it. I will defiinitely see it in LA. Her stamina is incredible. You seriously have to see that play.

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